Mayor publishes planning guidance

Mon 19th December 2016, 11:00 am

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has published a draft supplementary planning guidance detailing how he intends to get more affordable homes built.

Sitematch adviser Montagu Evans (ME) has reviewed the document and provided feedback on the measures it includes. The headline proposal in the guidance is the removal of the requirement for a viability study if a planning proposal provides a 35% affordable homes quota.

However, when reading the small print ME has its reservations: "Despite not requiring a viability submission, applications that meet the 35% threshold will still be required to provide a benchmark land value – which will be used to identify any surplus, should the non-implementation review be triggered. Benchmark land values are often the most contentious single item within a viability submission, so this requirement has the potential to erode much of the time saved in avoiding a formal viability submission. There is also no mention of any indexation in relation to this benchmark – which can have a significant impact on overall viability.”

The guidance paper also encourages building new homes for the private rented sector (PRS). The paper sets out a number of requirement a proposal must fulfil to be treated as PRS as opposed to build for sale, including a minimum of 50 units to be rented for at least 15 years and single management for all units.

ME notes the possible consequences for registered providers: "The requirement for PRS schemes to be under unified management has a knock-on effect for associated affordable housing, since it means that registered providers cannot be involved (unless they are the developer). As a solution, the SPG states that any affordable housing within a PRS scheme can be entirely for discounted market rent , to be managed by the developer or provider.”

The full planning guidance can be found here.

The Greater London Authority will be available for meetings at Sitematch London on 8 February 2017. To book your meeting, contact Josie Brewer on 020 7978 6840

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